Last week, five US senators penned a letter to Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s Chief Content Officer, condemning the platform’s decision to work with the author.
The letter cited previous comments made by Liu in support of the Chinese government’s treatment of Uighur Muslims over a million are now being held in “re-education” camps in the northwestern province of Xinjiang.
In a 2019 interview, Liu said: “Would you rather that they be hacking away at bodies at train stations and schools in terrorist attacks?
“If anything, the government is helping their economy and trying to lift them out of poverty.”
In the letter to Netflix which can be read in full here the senators state: “We have significant concerns with Netflix’s decision to do business with an individual who is parroting dangerous [Chinese Communist Party] propaganda.”
It continues: “The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is committing atrocities in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR), also known as East Turkistan to locals.
“These crimes are committed systemically and at a scale which may warrant a distinction of genocide. Sadly, a number of U.S. companies continue to either actively or tacitly allow the normalisation of, or apologism for, these crimes. The decision to produce an adaptation of Mr Liu’s work can be viewed as such normalisation.”
On Friday (25 September) Netflix responded to the letter with a statement, reading: “Mr Liu is a Chinese citizen living in China he is the author of the books, not the creator of this Netflix series.”
It added: “Netflix judges individual projects on their merits. We do not agree with his comments, which are entirely unrelated to his book or this Netflix show.”
The controversy comes shortly after Disney was condemned for filming their live-action remake of Mulan in China’s Xinjiang province.
Mulan’s final credits give a “special thanks” to a public security bureau in Turpan, Xinjiang, which runs China’s “re-education” camps where Muslim Uighurs are held in detention.